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Lifetime Achievment Award Announced

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 It's common for long-time advocates to 'burn out,' getting tired of the roller coaster ups and downs of advocacy.  Then there are those advocates who never seem to lose their enthusiasm, no matter how long they've been at it.  Their excitement seems to grow year after year, and it is a contagious joy that spreads quickly.  That's Dave McCalley.

ID Action selected Dave McCalley, a long-time Cedar Falls advocate, as the recipient of the 2013 ID Action Lifetime Achievement Award. The ID Action Lifetime Achievement award is presented annually to an individual who has dedicated their life to improving the lives of Iowans with disabilities.

Dave McCalley, a retired biology, science and environmental education professor at the University of Northern Iowa, has been a leader in advocating for Iowans with disabilities for a number of years. He played an integral part in the establishment of the People First program with the Arc of Cedar Valley. He believed this group was an important component of the advocacy effort to raise awareness of the issues that affect those living in the county with disabilities.

Over the years, Dave has developed strong partnerships with organizations to help support a variety of initiatives. He has written a number of grants that have helped support projects that support advocates in their efforts to increase public awareness surrounding disability related issues.  For example, prior to the 2012 election, Dave organized a tour for candidates running in Black Hawk County for the Iowa Senate and House of Representatives of agencies that provide services for persons with disabilities. This tour provided an opportunity to discuss issues and policies that affect Iowans with disabilities living and working in Black Hawk County to a captive audience. 

An issue that has always been important to Dave is ensuring that all Iowans have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote. He has been dedicated to raising awareness that Iowans with disabilities are full citizens and as such should be provided with accessible polling places that fully accommodate those with disabilities.

For many years, Dave has collaborated with ID Action to provide voter education trainings that focus on rights, responsibilities and the voting process. This year, he also worked to help establish a satellite voting location that was set-up by the Black Hawk County Auditor’s office at a local provider agency. Trained staff were available to provide assistance through the voting process to those that needed additional support.

Dave hopes that elected officials will recognize that Iowans with disabilities are full citizens who vote and who will hold them accountable for decision-making that impacts their daily lives.   Dave could not be present to receive the award, but his son (pictured) and daughter accepted it for him.